LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: GSW golf leading Spring Kickoff tournament

New GSW men's golf coach Darcy Donaldson watched his team pull away from the competition in Monday's season-opening round.

New GSW men's golf coach Darcy Donaldson watched his team pull away from the competition in Monday's season-opening round.

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. — The Darcy Donaldson era started in a big way Monday.

Donaldson, Georgia Southwestern’s first-year golf coach, watched the Hurricanes open the season with a 2-over 286 in the opening round of the Spring Kickoff Intercollegiate, which was good enough for first place and a six-shot lead over Montevallo heading into today’s final round.

GSW senior and Lee County grad Nate Gahman is tied for first individually in the 17-team field after shooting a 69, while teammate Andrew Ritchot is tied for fourth after shooting an even-par 71.

Also for GSW, J.P. Griffin and Matt Whittaker are tied for 13th at 2-over, and Anders Olsson is tied for 26th at 4-over.

Darton wrestlers qualify 5 for nationals

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — The Darton State College Cavaliers were able to handle just about anything thrown at them in Garden City, N.Y., on Saturday — be it blizzards, unruly crowds or seasoned competitors — and come home with the program’s best finish at the NJCAA Eastern District/National Qualifier wrestling tournament.

Darton finished third as a team despite entering the snowed-in tournament unranked and with few expectations from competitors. The program also qualified five out of 10 possible weights for the NJCAA Wrestling Championship, which are held in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 21-23.

“You could tell they didn’t have much respect for us, coming out of the south to the northeast where wrestling is such a dominant sport,” said Darton head wrestling coach James Hicks, whose athletes had to endure some heavy taunting from the home crowd. “I mean, they were yelling words toward my guys that we don’t use around here.”

But the Cavaliers wrestled through it and probably earned some respect on the way as freshman Jamel Sharp won the 125-pound class competition. Coming into the tournament with over 20 wins and only a single loss, yet still unranked, Sharp beat No. 4 John Pellegrino of Nassau Community College in the finals. Sharp is now 25-1.

Twins Brandon and Braxton Owens, both freshmen, finished second and third in the 133 and 141 divisions, respectively. Brandon, also unranked, beat Top-10 wrestler Charlie Huff of Glouchester CC in the semi-finals.

Darton also qualified Benjamin Richards, who finished third at 197, and heavyweight Henry Floyd, who finished fourth.

“I feel like we could’ve gotten one or two more in,” said Hicks, who is in his first season as head coach of the Cavaliers. “But if third is the highest we’ve ever placed and four of our qualifiers are freshmen, then I’m satisfied with the performance and I’m excited about the future of our program.”

Lady Cavs go 4-for-5 in Chipola Tournament

Marianna, Fla. — The Lady Cavaliers won four of five games against some of the NJCAA’s best softball programs in a weekend tournament hosted by Chipola College in Marianna, Fla.

Darton took two victories from No. 3 Wallace State Henceville on Saturday and Sunday. Darton freshman Savannah Carlisle allowed three hits in seven innings Saturday to get a 1-0 win over Wallace. Kelsey Ogletree’s home run gave Darton the upper hand.

The Lady Cavaliers beat Wallace State again Sunday, 3-2. Jenny Willis threw three strikeouts in six innings and got the win, while Carlisle got the save. A two-run double by Kelsey Swinson in the third inning was the game winner for the Lady Cavs.

“We played well, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Darton head softball coach David Dews said. “All of those teams were really good. It was a very positive experience for us to go down there and play with them.”

Darton also beat Mississippi State Gulf Coast, 6-0, and Snead State, 4-0. The only loss was a 2-0 setback to Northwest Florida State on Saturday.